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june 2020 new music playlist

Definite slow down in finding new songs last month. Not a bad selection despite that though.

Rule the World
Easy McCoy
I like the big percussion and general sound of this.
From an Old Navy Ad...
When I Meet My Maker
Toots Earl & Etienne Lecomte
Crazily authentically old sounding for a new song.
via "What We Do in the Shadows" -- great series!
You'll Never Walk Alone
Marcus Mumford
A little shmaltzy, and hasn't moved me yet, but it might.
Mentioned in the Anthropocene Reviewed Podcast.
Knight Rider for 8 cellos
Samara Ginsberg
Awesome instrumental cover.
Somewhere on Twitter...

Love Is Like a Bottle of Gin
The Magnetic Fields
Sodden song.
The "Watch Out for Fireballs" Podcast quoted "Love is like a bottle of gin / But a bottle of gin is not like love"
Shit Kickin'
Indigo Girls
Awesome the Indigo Girls have been making music together for so long.
The "Baby Geniuses" Podcast mentioned the new album, though they liked "Country Radio" better.

Let Me Live / Let Me Die
Des Rocs
Suicide Girls energy.
Youtube recommendation off of the Easy McCoy piece above.

Too Young to Remember
Love shouty girl choruses like this, that little pop of "Hey!"
via Arun's gift of songs.

Dumb Ways to Die
Tangerine Kitty
Was this from a funny public service message?
via Arun's gift of songs.
You Must Be Out of Your Mind
The Magnetic Fields
Nice old torch song.
My friend Leigh mentioned this as her favorite Magnetic Fields song after I posted "Love is Like a Bottle of Gin"

Tom Jones & EMF
Loved this song in high school... surprised the collaboration with Tom Jones didn't make it onto one of his albums of duets...
Forget how I found out about this but been meaning to rip it from Youtube for a long time.

on trusting intuition and face blindness

I was reading a short story that revolved around Capgras Delusion, the psychological disorder where someone becomes convinced that people whom they know well have been replaced with exact duplicates - victims of it will fabricate all kind of outlandish theories about the "swap" because the "imposter" simply isn't triggering the part of their brain that signals recognition, and so the victim literally can't believe that the person is who they are claiming to be.

This story explored what it would be like for an otherwise cognitively normal person to go through a double trauma: of having their loved ones taken from them and then realizing that the problem is with them. It was almost the trope of "unreliable narrator", but set up so the reader realized what was going on well before the main character worked it out.

I got to thinking of my deeply ingrained belief that meaning and value is an emergent property from groups, not something an individual carries inside-- could it be that that sense that truth is objective and shared, not ingrained and intuited, meant I would have less inclined to have this problem?

And then I started wondering, is my sense of relying less on intuitive judgement tying into my mild face-blindness? ("face-myopia") Like do other people get more ability to recognize and remember folks because they have a better developed and more trusted intuition?

It's a "Just-So" story without much backing, but seems almost as strong as my idea that my face-blindness is because I skim the world, getting the gist quickly and glossing over detail, and the contours that separate one face from another are that kind of detail...
TIL it's a "tough row to hoe" not a "tough road to hoe".

And to think I have pride calling myself the descendent of Ohio farm people! Yeesh!

July 4, 2020


The other week I followed the footsteps of Cassie Tarakajian's Creative Coding in p5.js and used clmtracker to play around with face-tracking (and wiring it up to responsive sound generator.)

You can play with the final results here. I write up the process on my devblog - it was more frustrating than I expected to get the library installed and understand it, and the end results were a bit disappointing - the face tracker doesn't work well with glasses, for starters. Still it's fun to know I have these kind of options at hand for future creative coding goofery. starters.

underwater world

Yesterday we joined Melissa's old crew who were camping near at Burlingame State Park. We joined them for a day of socially distanced lake fun, with the highlight being this giant platform floaty raft thing they brilliantly bought last year...

I dared to take advantage of my phone's promise of great water resistance - and got some beautiful shots of Watchaug Pond's aquatic plant life...

The conflicting info from doctors has been exhausting-

First they said "masks don't help"

Then it became "we learned more and masks do help"

Then it was "yup, we still think masks help"

Then "continue wearing masks"

Now "for the love of god, wear a mask"

Which is it?!

July 6, 2020

There are approximately 1,010,300 words in the English language, but I could never string enough words together to properly explain how much I want to hit you with a chair.
Alexander Hamilton, to Thomas Jefferson (allegedly)
I can't find a proper attribution, so take it with a grain of salt, but it is a great coinage - recognizing the difficulties language can have in capturing intense feeling.
Sometimes quarantine feels like an endless series of "wait its time to cut my fingernails again already?"
Dang, you need to understand Simpsons Paradox to understand COVID #s - how you group data from various states or counties gives you different views. Simpsons Paradox is such a nasty bit of math!

Caroline Randall Williams: "My Body Is a Confederate Monument"
"On Sunday, July 5, a report on Ghislaine Maxwell during FOX News Channel's America's News HQ mistakenly eliminated President Donald Trump from a photo alongside then Melania Knauss, Jeffrey Epstein and Maxwell. We regret the error," Fox News reportedly said in a statement to CNN's media reporter Oliver Darcy.

I knew Lee Fastenau back around 2004 when were both duffers fooling around programming Atari games - he made the beautifully designed game Reflex and lately has made some interesting minimalist Apple II games

July 7, 2020

"When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket."
On the one hand he seem to have a pretty good view of the potential for women's intellectual achievements. On the other hand... eugenics? Bleh.

July 8, 2020

Remember give up on all your dreams now while you're still young!
Lars in "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga"

July 9, 2020

A decade and a half ago, Lego's "Spybotics" line sponsored Gamelab in making "Spybotics: The Nightfall Incident". I really liked this game, and even made a FAQ for it.

The other week a person named Patrick Pan contacted me - he made a loving and detailed recreation called "The Nightfall Incident". (It was pretty easy to remove the Lego/Spybotics connection which was extremely superficial)

The game is great - as I described it back then
It's a simple wargame in a puzzle game's clothing, with elements of Intellivision's SNAFU (kind of like "Tron Lightcycle") and Pokemon's collecting and battles to boot.
He gifted me a copy in appreciation of my FAQ, but having played through it again I know it's well worth the $5!
Walking takes longer...than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed.
Edward Abbey, "Walking"

Humans might forget their dreams so quickly in order to not mix them up with real memories
That's a pretty good point!

July 10, 2020

Josh at work:
Either the movie Alien was inspired by this eel, or evolution watched the movie and decided to recreate the second mouth.


July 11, 2020

A friend on FB posted this: Her answer (after mentioning the illustration disturbed her) was "Lotor from Voltron"

My answer:

So... and I swear, I'm not a furry... one clip that really sticks out in my mind is a really deep cut from the "Heathcliff" cartoon. Heathcliff generally reads as Garfield's low rent cousin (though I think came before?) and the animated series isn't talked about all that much - despite it being the final original voice of Mel Blanc...

Anyway, I actually dug up the one episode that stuck in my head - turns out it's soccer, not football like I half-remembered - but it had three cheerleader cats. What struck me most was I found the most attractive was the one on left - it was an early sign that I'm not a big fan of femmy-femme. I still appreciate the curves, but overall I'm less into the girly-girl vibe...

And just to close out the subject so I don't have to think about it again, there was one of the Cats from the musical that had the same vibe, just one missing the big expansive mane all the other ones had...

Getting a tattoo is permanent, but so is never getting a tattoo.
antiqua_lumina on /r/Showerthoughts/

July 12, 2020

Two summerish/life thoughts:

One is: as best you can, try to appreciate the summer. Yes we trust future summers will open up more activities, and many of us our going through a bit of always-at-home limbo for both work and play, but try and treat this time as more than "in between" time - it's still life.

(Also, I hate to think about it but summer now has more options than a vaccine-less fall and winter for public-health-minded folks)

Two: new adventures in bachelor-boy-style cuisine -- I just realized that a bowl full of broken chips well-mixed with salsa (and eaten with a fork) is better than regular tortilla chips dipped in salsa. Anyone know what the fanciest-pants cuisine name for that kind of crumble would be?
Riley: "I want a bunk bed!"
Mindy: "Yes, okay, all right. I'll get you...I'll get you a bunk bed."
Riley's Mom: "Are you sure about this?"
Mindy: "Of course. I can do anything as long as it's just paying for something."
The Mindy Project.
I've posted this before but I dug up the longer quote

As one dude put it in a dream I had once:
When you reach the ripe old age of 27 like I have, and you have the choice between investing time and investing money, you realize you should never go for the time. You can always make more money...

July 13, 2020

When I was about 11, my father was listening to NPR in the car and I was the captive audience in the back seat with no choice but to listen. It was some gardening and/or food themed show and the host was talking about how carrots grown in the winter produce more sugar. This is an evolutionary tactic on the carrot's part to survive harsh conditions. And that was when this man dropped the most banger line I've ever heard. "When you bite into a carrot and it tastes sweet, that's the carrot saying 'I don't want to die.'" I was floored, changed as a person forever. This line haunts me. The poetry. The emotion. NPR made me the sappy garden idiot I am today, romanticizing senescence and over analyzing the science behind vegetables.
(admittedly this could be mis-spun as a somewhat anti-vegan concept...)
Elsewhere, workers labor daily to extract gold that lies more than two miles underground [...] If you think that such depths are startling, consider the sheer number of holes humans dig. One estimate suggests that for every person alive, there may exist 21 feet of borehole hollowed out in pursuit of geothermal energy, and natural gas, oil, and other hydrocarbons. Even as human toil compiles new kinds of useful metals and crystals aboveground, it creates airy space where raw resources were once bestrewn below.
A long while ago I thought about the Paul Simon line "Too many people on the bus from the airport / Too many holes in the crust of the earth", and while I'm wary of analysis that says "it's too many people!" and not more about how shared resources are being exploited and used, it seems a foresightful line- that was way I heard about fracking causing earthquakes in otherwise stable areas and putting drinking water at risk.
Power, power, power! Up here where the world was like a toy beneath me. Where I held the stick like my cock in my hand and there was no one...to say me no!
Jonas Cord, in Harold Robbins' "The Carpetbaggers"
via Steven Levy's "Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution". I thought of this when Tom posted an image from an anti-mask rally with the comment "They’re doing a no-mask protest in Colorado Springs today. This is the level of sophistication. The woman has “No” crossed out."

July 14, 2020

I talked to a young man with white hair on a boat cabin in the middle of a stormy sea. He forgot everything about himself exept for the fact that his name rhymed with 'Time' so he started calling himself Time.

I offered him an orange in exchange for a meaningful chat. He took the slice and told me "Nothing's set in stone, but they're set in a dirt road. If you roll your wagon in the same path too much it'll soon be the only path you can take without struggling."

Brains are meat computers that turn sugar into thoughts.
Reagalan, /u/showerthoughts

The answer to the age old half empty or full glass question: It depends on your last action with it. If you drank from it it's half empty, but if you filled it it's half full.
edbuilds in /r/showerthoughts

Good link on how We literally *do not know* what we do not know about COVID-19; thinking of the possible long term ramifications of even the quiescent virus is sobering. (That said; I know herpes/chicken pox are related, and HIV seems to be kind of its own thing. Still, one way or another viruses become a permanent part of our lives.)

It also reminds me of a sentiment I read recently that "our civilization owes its continued existence to the fact that HIV can't be transmitted by mosquitos". I think that might be overstating the case, but it's pretty alarming.

July 15, 2020


For example, many on the left now share an unacknowledged but common assumption that a good work of art is made of good politics and that good politics is a matter of identity.
George Packer
I know some of my fellow lefties might differ with me on this but I think my epistemological make up weakens my grasp of the importance of "identity". The self is an illusion. Meaning is an emergent properties from groups, and how things interact is leagues more important than their respective interior lives. On the other hand, "identity" is often a stand in for "group via group" and not personal identity, and I recongize that a lot of interaction IS determined by the character and perception of groups.
It is a leisurely game that demands blinding speed. The only game in which the defense has the ball. It follows the seasons, beginning each year with the fond expectancy of springtime, and ending with the hard facts of autumn. It is a haunted game, in which every player is measured against the ghosts of all who have gone before. Most of all, it is about time and timelessness. Speed and grace. Failure and loss. Imperishable hope. And coming home.
Ken Burns'"Baseball"

July 16, 2020

Old video (in more ways than one) about how VHS tape works. Spoiler - video tape can't move past the heads fast enough for a video signal, and the solution is that the heads themselves rotate as well, thus virtually increasing the length of the tape

(so the issue is how fast you can read the information, not how densely you can pack it in - sort of how I'm amazed at how a whole plethora of TV channels could come on one coaxial cable - or as Homer Simpson put it "*kiss* *kiss* *kiss* How can one little insulated wire bring so much happiness!?")
But in this time, it's almost like you're afraid. You're afraid to step out and be joyful, you're afraid to kind of affirm the positive and stuff, But I'm telling you it's a big moment in our history... and it's a wonderful time to be barely alive.
Jim Carrey on Marc Maron's WTF podcast

change for the changeless

I've lived with six girl friends in my life. In my life I've lived with six women and all six of them have left me. And sooner or later, I'm going blame myself. But not today!
Jim Jeffries
I'm a nostalgic beast.

I figure we always have the present (maybe that's all we have!) but if you keep your eyes only forward, valuing the future but discounting the past, you're only going to get poorer as time goes on.

Even with relationships and what not that didn't work out the way I would have hoped (and for almost everyone in a relationship doesn't that tend to be "all of them save the current one"?) I like to frame those as good and interesting times that I once got to have experience than something I've lost.

Exes tolerate or accommodate my retrospecting nature to various degrees. I had an epiphany during a friendly "hey I'm in town" dinner with A. the other year. At one point I mentioned how I don't have an intuitive belief in personal growth or qualitative change. People can adjust their behaviors, and new habits can become more ingrained, but there's a core that is constant, and I'm not sure it develops all that much - every potential a person has is in there at the beginning, and at best things become unlocked.

(There's a lot in Ted Chiang's short story "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling" that resonated for me... the sci-fi piece traces a parallel between a possible future technology of completely recording your own life to the adoption of writing and the cultural changes it wrought. But his quote landed for me: "And while I wasn't that man anymore, I couldn't deny that I was continuous with him." The way the characters recognize the difference but also the ongoing thread seemed instructive. Another particularly apropos quote to the narrator from his daughter: "'Fine,' she said. 'But let's be clear: you don't come running to me every time you feel guilty over treating me like crap. I worked hard to put that behind me, and I'm not going to relive it just so you can feel better about yourself.'"... Good to keep in mind as I talk with old loves.)

Anyway, A indulged me by listening to me talk about what happened with M (the one time a relationship got to the marriage stage before falling apart.) My take on it was: I think we started with a similar 1:1 outlook but over time M. started to grow in a future + family looking way, and I didn't give her enough indications that I was inclined or able to lean in that same way, even though I think that potential was there. But I will always resent that she didn't communicate that much at a time when it was still actionable, to give me time to adapt. (Maybe it's not fair of me to have expected to be told what to do, but on the other hand, I think that's what wedding vows are kind of about...)

So at that dinner with A, for the first time a newly amalgamated thought clicked...
I was carrying a grudge that M didn't give a guy who doesn't believe in personal growth a chance to have personal growth

Wow. It seems stupid that it took so long for me to put those threads together.

Ah well. I've had a note to write about "expecting people to let the guy who doesn't believe in change have a chance to change" for a long while, but that Jeffries quote above finally nudged me over - along with this review of an old video game console controller, where the gimmick is they try to figure out what family/relationship role any given controller plays:
The relevant quote:
[The Sega Master System Control Pad:]

Nothing is really wrong with them. They feel sturdy... when I hold them in my hands I'm not thinking about my death, I'm not feeling pure divine joy either but that's not their fault. They're doing their best.

Who are they in our family? They're not a sibling. Our relationship feels both more distant and more intimate. They're not our family dog, our dog is more energetic.

I feel like they're our first husband, who was fine but our lives just moved in different directions. Perfect!

Welcome to our family first husband. We'll always remember the time we shared as having been okay.
I guess I aim for "having been ok". (Reminds me of my first company, where one senior developer remarked we had "delusions of mediocrity.")

Protectors of Terebeth

This is a story I wrote in fifth grade, I believe... bold choice to make it feel like it was the middle of a series! I know the basic "dragonrider" was influenced by the Return of the Jedi Scout Walkers - I love thosed. The name "Terebeth" might have been influenced by "Bridge to Terabithia"?

"Relaxed cursive" mentioned in the dedication is an interesting euphemism. Also, during the biefing - are the phoenixriders and krakenriders "ancient type" or "new"? Make up your mind kid. And you left out a word on that page too.
"We have a duty to speak Truth to Power."
"That's a beautiful slogan, but you know Power never returns Truth's calls."
Greg Egan, Instantiation

the koans

A story I wrote, I believe in sixth grade. Rather more charming than yesterday's... "The Koans" is an interesting title; I don't think I knew what a Koan was but I like the sound of the word. Also my nomme de plume "Lord Logan" (based on my middle name) was inspired by Richard "Lord British" Garriott who wrote the Ultima computer games.

I also know where I got the visual design for the birds - I think I saw the early CGI film "Snoot and Muttley" at the Boston Computer Museum (RIP) - it must've really made an impression on me.
(I reverse-engineered thet title of that short from this Summer 1985 version edition of Computer Museum reports.)

Another short that left a big impression on me was Beat Dedication about a robot drummer battling a VW fly- sadly this bad VHS version is all I can find online now, from it's airing on "Night Flight" -I think it was also on MTV's Liquid Television.
puppets are just acoustic robots

I should reread Erika Moen's DAR and maybe check out Bucko.

July 20, 2020

Death destroys a man: the idea of Death saves him.
E.M. Forster, Howards End

We had a good slot. A lot of people were watching.We had record numbers watching. In the history of cable television there's never been anything like it.
Trump on his plans to resume COVID briefings.
SO PRESIDENTIAL! It's funny, too, like you know he's regurgitating some line written for one of his briefings, with the clear mandate to "make POTUS feel good + special"
I try to have a weekly call with my 6yr old superniece Cora. Not that I can complain relative to actual parents, but sometimes it's tough to be mutually entertaining over a FaceTime for hours at a time... but we're both only kids so we figure stuff out. Sometimes parallel play with Legos and/or her "magic sand", sometimes little dramas with her dolls and my lego figures or old robot-y toys (she figured out a clever way to have the toys using FaceTime as part of the story.) Yesterday we came up with semi-collaborative drawing on our tablets... here's what I made on my end, from Sea Creatures (including a seal, and I tried to illustrate working-to-get-better-at-something, and it was ok that my first seal was meh, but then I used some reference art....) then unicorn and dragon hybrids, including a Winnie the Pooh dragon and a Roomba dragon, then some talk about ALien Bill, then we made the same birds I made for my sixth grade story Koans (good exercise for her in going step by step for drawing) I also lightly touched on the whole "sometimes you draw by doing the whole shape, rather than piece by piece."

Wish I had access to her side of the drawing but here's mine:

July 21, 2020

I have always admired the art of Alison Bechdel -
from the real-life-feeling stories a lesbian community in "Dykes to Watch Out For", to seeing parallels with some of my own story in her autobiographical books such as "Fun House", to seeing her talk about building up her craft in "The Indelible Alison Bechdel" - the introduction showing her childhood and teenage growth as an artist was amazing...

Anyway in Slate she praises the Stuck Rubber Baby, now in its 25th anniversary reprint by Howard Cruse... I'm gonna check that out!

(Tangentially related, the best secondary use of the oversized iPad Pro I got when it was the only one that supported the Apple Pencil is as a reader app for comics...)

July 22, 2020

A disturbing lesson in sexism. I think about all those offers who use initials rather than gender-associated names.
Motto last year: do one thing each day that scares you

Motto now: do one thing each day

It's very important in life to know when to shut up.
Alex Trebek

I suggest we talk about vice-signaling [...] How not caring about injustices is the appropriate position to take, in their world, if you want to be taken seriously. Only losers care about stuff.
The context was journalism, but it applies so well to people who are so loud about how they ain't gonna wear a mask.
The essential message of a vice signal is that it's never you that needs to change -- the world needs to change around you.

July 23, 2020

Just finished the graphic novel "Stuck Rubber Baby", a lovely work about growing up in the deep South during the "Kennedytime" era - a young man working out his homosexuality (even in the context of a straight relationship) and his space in the civil rights movement.

I like how those panels touch on the blend of admiration and love. (As always I think of that line from Birdman: "You know, just because I didn't like that ridiculous comedy you did with Goldie Hawn did not mean I did not love you. That's what you always do. You confuse love for admiration.")
Work reasonably, play reasonably.
Jon Raasch (That's a pretty excellent thing to hear from your manager...)

I've been going through old files and I found this video of a plasma globe, footage I took for my 40x30 small gif cinema series in 2003... I thought in the dark it looked a bit like a Star Trek alien entity...


I've been cleaning up a bunch of old files. This was a series of romance-related quotes I put in a file called 'prince.txt". I think the name comes from an ambition to write a Visual Basic program to pick a random message Unix "fortune" program style, called "Sweet-Prince-O-Tron" or some such.
Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Roumania.
Dorothy Parker
Into love and out again,
Thus I went and thus I go.
Spare your voice, and hold your pen:
Well and bitterly I know
All the songs were ever sung,
All the words were ever said;
Could it be, when I was young,
Someone dropped me on my head?
Dorothy Parker
All the passions make us commit faults; love makes us commit the most
ridiculous ones.
La Rochefoucauld
Arthur's Laws of Love:
(1) People to whom you are attracted invariably think you remind them of someone else.
(2) The love letter you finally got the courage to send will be delayed in the mail long enough for you to make a fool of yourself in person.
Be assured that a walk through the ocean of most Souls would scarcely get your Feet wet. Fall not in Love, therefore: it will stick to your face.
National Lampoon, 'Deteriorata'
From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving,
Whatever gods may be,
That no life lives forever,
That dead men rise up never,
That even the weariest river winds somewhere safe to sea.
Higgeldy Piggeldy,
Hamlet of Elsinore
Ruffled the critics by
Dropping this bomb:
'Phooey on Freud and his
Psychoanalysis --
Oedipus, Shmoedipus,
I just love Mom.'
Let us live!!!
Let us love!!!
Let us share the deepest secrets of our souls!!!

You first.
Let's just say that where a change was required, I adjusted. In every relationship that exists, people have to seek a way to survive. If you really care about the person, you do what's necessary, or that's the end. For the first time, I found that I really could change, and the qualities I most admired in myself I gave up. I stopped being loud and bossy ... Oh, all right. I was still loud and bossy, but only behind his back.
Kate Hepburn, on Tracy and Hepburn
Love at first sight is one of the greatest labor-saving devices the world has ever seen.
Love is sentimental measles.
Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
H. L. Mencken
Math is like love -- a simple idea but it can get complicated.
R. Drabek
Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.
Charlie Brown
People think love is an emotion. Love is good sense.
Ken Kesey
Religion has done love a great service by making it a sin.
Anatole France
Sex without love is an empty experience, but, as empty experiences go, it's one of the best.
Woody Allen
Speaking of love, one problem that recurs more and more frequently these days, in books and plays and movies, is the inability of people to communicate with the people they love; Husbands and wives who can't communicate, children who can't communicate with their parents, and so on. And the characters in these books and plays and so on (and in real life, I might add) spend hours bemoaning the fact that they can't communicate. I feel that if a person can't communicate, the very *least* he can do is to Shut Up!
Tom Lehrer, 'That Was the Year that Was'
When love is gone, there's always justice.
And when justice is gone, there's always force.
And when force is gone, there's always Mom.
Hi, Mom!
Laurie Anderson
When the Ngdanga tribe of West Africa hold their moon love ceremonies, the men of the tribe bang their heads on sacred trees until they get a nose bleed, which usually cures them of *that*.
Mike Harding, 'The Armchair Anarchist's Almanac'
While money doesn't buy love, it puts you in a great bargaining position.
Why must you tell me all your secrets when it's hard enough to love you knowing nothing?
Lloyd Cole and the Commotions
Yield to Temptation ... it may not pass your way again.
Lazarus Long, 'Time Enough for Love'

I also found files making this hypnotic barcode clock, also available online.
A crucifix for a snake would just be a stick.
version13 in /r/showerthoughts

concern and care

Some quotes on concern and care - The Wells is via Gardner's "aha! Paradox", the latter 3 from a document my friend Len collected for a join project way back when.
As long as there is a chance of the world getting through its troubles, I hold that a reasonable man must behave as though he were sure of it. If at the end your cheerfulness was not justified, at any rate you will have been cheerful.
H.G. Wells
Patience is the ability to care slowly.
John Clarke
Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that are forever blowing through our minds.
Mark Twain
Drag your thoughts away from your troubles-by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage. It's the healthiest thing a body can do.
Mark Twain
Thinking about the final Twain quote. Not quite sure I agree that "distraction" is always healthier than a kind of acceptance. I know that for folks with a certain kind of anxiety, it IS best to steer clear, but personally I am better served by leaning into a Warholian "So what?" (When I catch myself avoiding thinking of a problem, part of me starts assuming that the avoidance behavior was justified and that the problem must be REALLY bad. The bad situation's reputation increases its menace tenfold than if it does when I say "ok, that might happen, it might not, if it does, I will still muddle through. Ok, maybe not tenfold, but two- or threefold.)
Some car names really make you wonder - why is the Hyundai Excel named after a spreadsheet? Why is the Honda Citation named after what you hope you don't get when driving?

But, I think Ford has topped itself with its new truck, the "Ford Tremor". If I remember rightly the billboard was like "Where the road ends, the Tremor begins"


(Also, please no tired old jokes about the "Chevy Nova" in Spanish markets...)

July 26, 2020

Sleep isn't just a way to regain energy, it's also a 'vacation' from life
DovieUU, /r/showerthoughts

Thinking is difficult, that's why most people judge.
Carl Jung

July 27, 2020

I kind of like this self-portrait (at a BLM Whole Foods boycott small rally) I made, even thought it was just a side note to a joke text to a friend yesterday.

Playing hooky at Nahant beach. Low tide in 45 minutes. Thinking about the tides... is there any other way we practically notice the gravitational effect of the moon? Seems weirdly prevalent with tides and weirdly absent in other contexts.

July 28, 2020

Mastering a skill is getting from the phase when you think you're doing great but everyone else can see your mistakes to the point where you start to see your mistakes but everyone else thinks you're doing great.

Patience is not a feeling. It's a behavior.
Sue Gambill-Read

meet the clumps

I'm rereading Martin Gardner's book "aha! Gotcha: Paradoxes to puzzle and delight" I found this book in my Aunt and Uncle's library and it left an impact on me, teaching me things like the "liar's paradox" ("this sentence is true!") and the weirdness of the Hotel Infinity, where the seemingly full hotel can make space for any finite number of new guests by having all the current guests move up that many rooms, or even an infinite number of new guests by having everyone take a room that's their current room number x 2.

In the section on Statistics Gardner talks about statistical "clumping". I remember this passage:
A striking experiment in clumping was discovered by A. D. Moore, an engineer at the University of Michigan. Moore calls it the "nonpareil mosaic" because it uses large quantities of nonpareils, a sugar candy manufactured in the shape of tiny colored spheres. Obtain enough red and green nonpareils so that you can fill a glass bottle with equal amounts of each. Shake the bottle until the two colors are thoroughly mixed.

Inspect the sides of the bottle. You would expect to a see a homogenous mix of colors, but instead you see a beautiful mosaic made up of irregular large red clumps interspersed with equally large green clumps. The pattern is so unexpected that even mathematicians, when they first see it, believe that some sort of electrostatic effect is causing spheres of like color to stick to one another. Actually, nothing but chance is operating. The mosaic is the normal result of random clumping.

If this seems hard to believe, try this simple experiment. On a sheet of graph paper, outline a 20-by-20 square. Take each cell in turn and color it red or green, choosing the color by flipping a coin. When the 400-cell square is fully colored, you will see the same kind of mosaic that appeared on the sides of the bottle.
But being in a page of relatively plentiful computer power, I made a digital version of this this morning and saved myself the 400 coin flips... see it yourself at ahaclumps

I made it so if you click higher or lower you get more or fewer colors (up to 8) and if you click left or right the number of squares in the grid changes. With small squares, I feel the clumping effect is a bit less pronounced, so I'm not quite sure I believe the original jar-of-nonpareils effect is well demonstrated here.

UPDATE: I made a variant clumpswap

It starts with equal and divided red green populations, and then starts letting things mix by swapping adjacent squares.

Of course at first the action seems slow, because most of the swaps are of a color with itself.

I didn't make it interactive but I find the end result kind more fun watch than the earlier program... instead of swapping, it feels more like individual cells are moving ... but of course, the "color" of the mover is determined by which color is more in contrast with its neighbors.

A major difference between dogs and cats is that when you take care of a dog, the dog assumes you must be some sort of king, while when you take care of a cat, the cat assumes that it must be some sort of king
Col0nelFlanders on /r/Showerthoughts

Gizmodo's I Miss series is pretty fun.

July 30, 2020

I lay in bed that night, unable to sleep. Do all teachers have nights like this, in which they worry that they've metamorphosed from lovable curmudgeons into oppressors, though they're not quite sure how? I wish I could say that as I tossed and turned I was pondering what I would later come to see as the eloquence and cogency of Luna's arguments, but I was just feeling shitty.

And then two words floated into my mind: "You are."

You are.

If I've ever been tempted to shout "Eureka!" it was then. "Eureka!" is supposed to be reserved for Archimedean breakthroughs, which, alas, this did not turn out to be. I later discovered that many others had had exactly the same idea. At that moment, however, I thought I was the first. A genius, basically. The mortifying pizza party faded.

This was my idea: I'd spent my whole life saying "you are," whether I was talking to one person or fifty. When I was talking to one person, the plural verb didn't sound wrong. It just was.

Had you once been exclusively plural? And had it evolved to be singular as well, though retaining its original plural verb? Might you, in fact, be a lot like they?

The answers turned out to be yes, yes, and yes.
Interesting. A prescriptivist teacher gets called out for griping about "themselves", and realizes there's a very clear precedent for seeming singular/plural mismatch: thou/thee used to be singular, Ye/You was plural. "You" became singular, but we still say "You are" not "You is" (and then we started looking around for a universal "plural you"...)

I was thinking a bit about neutral pronouns - how they serve both as ambiguity (and a way to avoid the BS of "default male") but also for people who aren't a fit for the gender binary.

Heh, I guess there's a parallel between deciding to prefer "they/them" pronouns as a protest against being so worried about specific pronouns in the first place, and thinking about skin tones in hands and face emoji... if canary yellow is a good "race-neutral" color or if, like the cartoon Simpsons, it codes as white and so isn't good for a default. (And if a coworker with a darker complexion does a thumbs up that matches their skin, is it ok to just +1 that, even when it's not your tone? Like that seems less awkward than a separate thumbs up that matches your own paler skin. Probably better to switch to the checkmark or "+1" icon in that case.)
When Sir Walter Raleigh was tried for treason in 1603, the prosecutor uttered the worst insult he could think of: "I *thou* thee, thou traitor."
Anne Fadiman

(Excellent point about Jesus and the money lenders...)
Thoughts on work:
I should start recasting "paying closer attention in meetings" as a form of meditation. It's way too easy to try and multitask - and because my general form of taking in information is based on skimming and getting the gist, I can usually get by ok - but I think more focus might be a better quality form of life.

Tangentially related to that: music. I like to listen to my new music playlist as often as I can during a work-month, but to be honest when it's time to hunker down I get better results with my "psyched!" list, energetic/inspiring music that I've listened enough to that it's very familiar. So I should probably listen to that more... but it always feels like a horse putting blinders on, losing the opportunity to get more familiar with the new stuff...

July 31, 2020

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, though decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.

Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

NY Times infographic/video Watch This Protest Turn From Peaceful to Violent in 60 Seconds. Summary if it's too pay-walled: there's a loud but peaceful march. It walks back where some bike cops are sentry-ing, behind barriers. More heavily geared riot cops come up to the barriers and put the more lightly geared bike cops aside. Protestors start raising umbrellas in defense of pepper spray. Umbrellas reduce cops line of sight, and in one area w/ a pink umbrella pushing aside the umbrella leads to an escalation where pepper spray is used (right on faces, not above the crowd as is procedure), then tear gas and flashbangs.

Every Star Wars Film has the Wrong Title!

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